Mets will give D.J. Carrasco a chance to earn rotation spot

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When the Mets signed D.J. Carrasco to a two-year, $2.5 million deal earlier this month the assumption was that they’d use him as a middle reliever, but Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports that he’ll likely be given a chance to claim a rotation spot in spring training.

Carrasco has experience as a starter in both the majors and minors, but he really found significant success in the big leagues only after shifting to the bullpen full time in 2008. For his career Carrasco is 5-8 with a 5.01 ERA in 23 starts compared to 18-10 with a 4.03 ERA in 221 relief appearances.

His role will ultimately depend on whether the Mets are able to sign a low-cost veteran starter or two from what’s left on the free agent market and Carrasco’s versatility gives them an additional option, but keeping the 34-year-old right-hander in a bullpen role would probably be the right decision.

Video: J.D. Martinez hits league-tying 23rd home run

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.

In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.

The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.